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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 12:42 UK

Protesters burn Indonesian mosque

Muslims demonstrate against the Ahmadiyya in Jakarta, Indonesia (April 20, 2008)
Protesters fear Ahmadiyya beliefs could challenge mainstream Islam

Hundreds of protesters in Indonesia have set fire to a mosque belonging to the minority Muslim Ahmadiyya sect.

Police in the town of Sukabumi in western Java say nobody was injured but that many members of the Ahmadiyya community have fled the area.

The hardline Islamist demonstrators believe the Ahmadiyya practice to be a deviant form of Islam that should not be allowed in Indonesia.

A nearby religious school belonging to the group has also been vandalised.

Around 300 people torched the mosque just after midnight on Monday.

Many Ahmadiyya members have sought refuge with friends and relatives nearby.

"We heard the attackers chanting 'burn, burn' and 'kill, kill'," Zaki Firdaus, one of the sect's members, told the Associated Press news agency. "It was horrifying."

Tensions have increased in recent days since a government-appointed panel recommended that the Ahmadiyya should be banned.

The Ahmadiyya has around 200,000 followers in Indonesia, and also faces persecution in other Muslim countries.

The Ahmadis believe their own founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908 in India, was a prophet.

This contradicts the belief of most Muslims, who say Muhammad was the last prophet.


SEE ALSO
Indonesians demand ban on sect
20 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Violent Dhaka rally against sect
23 Dec 05 |  South Asia
Rare attack on Pakistan Ahmadis
07 Oct 05 |  South Asia

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